What the 2015 party manifestos have to say about technology

If you haven't voted yet there's still plenty of time! Here's what the seven main parties have to say about technology...


Labour Party

  • All parts of the country to benefit from affordable high-speed broadband
  • Investment in mobile infrastructure to improve rural coverage
  • Drive innovation and build on strengths as a leader in digital tech.
  • Help for startups and freeze business rates for small businesses
  • Use digital technology to reform public services
  • “Strengthen the oversight” of surveillance agencies such as GCHQ and MI5
  • Require every company that works with the MoD to sign a cyber security charter.

Conservative Party

  • Free wifi on trains by 2017
  • Superfast broadband for 95% of us by 2017
  • “Ultrafast broadband’ as soon as practicable
  • Improved mobile infrastructure – 90% voice and sms coverage by 2017
  • Britain to be World leader in 5G development
  • £40m investment into ‘Internet of things’
  • £100m investment into ‘Driverless cars’
  • Creation of institutions such as; Alan Turing Institute for Big Data research; Royce institute for advanced materials;  National centre for aging science and innovation.
  • Financial support for startups and small businesses
  • Boost science and technology apprenticeships
  • “We must always ensure our outstanding intelligence and security agencies have the powers they need to keep us safe. At the same time, we continue to reject any suggestions of sweeping, authoritarian measures that would threaten our hard-won freedoms.”
  •  Equip police with new technologies, including mobile devices and body-worn cameras.
  • Invest in our cyber defence capabilities through police training and more volunteers.

Liberal Democrats

  • Superfast broadband for 99.9% of the UK
  • Build on the success of technology clusters (Tech City, Tech North) to support ‘fast growing businesses’
  • Channel more funding into innovation and technology centers in the UK
  • Boost technology talent through higher education courses and apprenticeships
  • Continue to release government datasets in accessible formats
  • Establish a Single Security Budget to include cyber defence
  • Digital Bill of Rights to protect individual’s online freedom

Plaid Cymru

  • Creation of a Welsh Migration Service to attract skilled internationals.
  • Minimum standard of 30Mbps broadband
  • Improved mobile coverage
  • Schools to teach coding and advanced computer technology development
  • No tuition fees in Wales for Science, Technology and Engineering subjects
  • Promote women’s access to STEM careers
  • Improve IT in healthcare
  • Improve cybersecurity to increase security a prevent cyber-attacks


  • Research institutions and private sector to collaborate
  • Support start-ups
  • Tax relief for video games industry
  • New Creative Content Fund
  • Increased talent pool for tech and creative industries through apprenticeships, free HE courses and post-study visas.
  • Support more rapid rollout of superheats broadband and 4G across Scotland
  • £1.5m to increase wifi provision in public buildings
  • More measures to protect against cyberterrorism but not at the expense of privacy


  • Help for start-ups and small businesses
  • Affordable high-speed broadband for all small businesses
  • Support the open and free flowing of information
  • Oppose ‘secret unaccountable mass surveillance’
  • Introduce a more ‘satisfactory law’ to combat malicious internet trolling.


  • Review the license fee.












Babi two point zero

The late night blog is the curse of the working parent.  Still, reflecting on my little ones’ technological advances makes washing the dishes seem less of a chore.

The big little person (now 3 years and 3 months) started full-time school nursery at the beginning of the month and her language and communication skills have improved.  She is increasingly curious about the different apps on my iPhone, she wants to know what they are all for and is generally disappointed to find access to our external hard drive or the news headlines.  Her new favourite is Spotify although she can’t navigate it, she hands me the phone and says “I want ‘Mi Welais Jac y Do‘ please”.  We need to teach her some new songs.

The littlest little person is a few days short of 11 months old so I think it’s time she started earning her keep.

She was 8 months when she first showed any interest in a Smart Phone, Babi number one was watching a cartoon and it held Babi 2’s interest for around 10 seconds.  From around 10 months she started to pick the phone up and play with the touch screen so those would have been her first conscious interactions with it and I assume the realisation that “if I touch the screen the pictures move”.  I have not noticed her try to replicate the effect on books or magazines.

This week I gave her the iPhone with Toca Band open and running but no instruments selected. Within seconds she had dragged one of the characters onto the stage area causing it to play a tune and was so pleased with herself she spent a good 2 minutes bouncing up and down in time to the music.  So now we also have “if I touch the screen it sometimes makes a noise” added in to the mix.

Half Birthday

We celebrate half birthdays here in the Babitech house, it’s a great excuse to eat more cake. I think the little one gets a rough deal as her half birthday is on Christmas day but it’ll be a few years before she works that one out.

30 months have flown by and our baby has become a little girl. She can turn on the tv with the remote or the button, unlock a touch screen mobile phone, play simple games on a laptop, phone or tablet, adjust volume and brightness, pause and re-start a youtube video, recognise letters and numbers on a keyboard and switch things off when she’s had enough of them. However she still can’t quite believe that a MacBookPro screen doesn’t respond to her swiping it!



Babi2.0 arrived 10 weeks ago, she’s not interested unless there’s a milk app.

Terrible Two

I’ve no idea where the last year went to but suddenly we are well into the summer birthday party circuit. We passed the 24 month mark this week so I had better get updating the blog.

A friend recommended Talkng Tom Cat’s canine counterpart, Talking Ben. For some reason I want to call the dog Dexter and have confused myself on more than 3 occasions searching for the app on my phone. After disabling the allow violence function, I let little one loose on the grumpy pooch who kept her entertained for a good ten minutes.

Once she’d “woken him up” by tickling and prodding the screen Ben repeats back whatever you say to him but in a deeper voice. Babi decided to put him through his paces offering increasingly more complicated vocal exercises to see if he could keep up with her. She then found the telephone function and had a short conversation with him consisting of a mixture of babble and barking.

As for developmental milestones, she now has much better control of the touch screen although she can’t yet manage to unlock it on the first attempt. She is aware that different pictures have different functions. She can swipe the screen sideways to navigate the home pages, she can tap the screen and knows that this action makes something happen. She can interact with an app vocally and has a good understanding of the camera function.

First child

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22 and a half months!

There’s been an awful lot of Weetabix cleaning this month (wouldn’t it make a brilliant adhesive!?), not to mention the alphabetti spaghetti, felt tipped pen, chocolate handprints…

My most amusing observation this month has to be the reaction to a calculator. I’d left my old one on the coffee table, she spent a good minute looking at it, picked it up, put it to her ear and enquired “Hello?”. Figures, buttons only, point it at the telly, buttons and a screen, must be a phone.

We’ve had a major development in using a smartphone, she’s not finely honed the skill yet but after a few attempts, and she definitely knows what she’s trying to do, she can manage the unlocking finger swipe. A word of warning to anyone attempting to outsmart their toddler with an unlock pattern, those little fingers migrate very quickly to the little red button direct line to the emergency services, no unlocking required!

She hasn’t yet got the dexterity to choose an app but we’ve had lots of fun firing multicoloured balls in Shoot Bubble Deluxe she loves the sound effects, especially when she loses, which is every time as she has no idea about the rules.

Her understanding of the camera function is increasing, she knows that the lens has something to do with the picture and she likes pointing it at people or objects, watching them on the screen and shouting out “Dadi!” or “Babbit!”

This is becoming quite fun, shows what an exciting life I lead. It’s half ten on a Friday evening and I’m looking forward to Googling my favourite fictional characters to see if they have baby friendly websites!

Easter Eggs

Fuelled by chocolate the little one instructed by means of points, grunts and amusing poses that she would like her picture taken. At 21 and a half months this was a first, she’s shown an interest in looking at pictures on my phone before but never communicated that she in any way understood the concept. What really tipped my geeky joy into overdrive was that she pointed at the sofa in the picture and then to the real sofa and said “Oh!” and then again to the pictures in the background “Oh!”.

21 months

There hasn’t been a huge change this month, I think she’s been concentrating on her language skills. I downloaded the Talking Tom Cat app (the free version) which, once I’d disabled the Allow Violence function(!), she was obsessed with for exactly 2 days. She would hand me my phone and say “Eeeow” and then have happy conversations with the cat punctuated by tantrums when the Download New Features adverts popped up and crashed the phone.

If there is a milestone here it’s that she realised that she could interact with the game by talking to it. My LGP350 wasn’t quite up to dealing with the barrage of adverts to upgrade so I uninstalled while she was distracted by the real cat.

Doompadee doo!

I just emailed Vtech UK to ask what research they base their toy design on and whether they have anything published I could read. I imagine an office full of Oompa-Loompas is now in the middle of a full scale argument about secret ingredients and fairy dust!

20 months

She’s had a eureka moment with the tv remote, she now points it towards the tv screen, presses the middle button and waves it around a bit! She’s figured out that if she moves her finger over the track-pad she can make the star move around on the sesame street website and that this action also works on the colouring in activities.

She has now figured out that people on Skype can see and hear her and that they are not behind the computer screen!